Please put some thought into kids menu’s.

22nd Apr 2015

I eat out a fair bit with my kids and I am getting increasingly frustrated with the amount of care (or lack of) that goes in to the children’s menu’s that we are presented with.

I am by no means the most health conscious person around, but I think it is important for young children to have a healthy balanced diet. Having a healthy balanced diet does not mean that they can only ever eat healthy foods, they should be able to have treats and understand that they are treats. I know a lot of the time when people eat out their kids are allowed to have a treat for their meal and I am not opposed to that.

There are 2 main issues I have with kids menu’s, the first is the lack of choice. By all means leave the nuggets & chips etc., on the menu because kids enjoy them and they will eat them, but is it too much to ask to have some healthier options available too? And by a healthy option I don’t mean the chicken salad filled with fancy lettuce and red onion and topped with a balsamic dressing that I recently received for my daughter.  They need to also be age appropriate options.

While I am talking about healthy meals I will also mention meals for different dietary requirements. We see vegetarian and gluten free meals readily available on the main menu, but I rarely see these offered on the kids menu.

Restaurants have so many options for their main menu, would it really be that hard to adapt some of those to a child sized meal? And why do adults get asked if they would like salad or veg with their meal, but kids don’t get this option at all? I know some kids wouldn’t eat it, but couldn’t we be given the choice of their meal being served with salad, veg or chips? Not just given chips?!

That brings me to my second issue which is the way kids meals are presented – if you order of the kids menu in a lot of cases it is literally just thrown on the plate with no form of presentation at all. An adult wouldn’t be impressed with a meal that had been thrown on the plate with no care whatsoever on how it looked, so why should kids get served like that?

If venues don’t want to give kids the choice of what’s served with their meal couldn’t they put some carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and cherry tomatoes on the side of a kids meal? Or some steamed corn, peas and carrots? Most kids I know would eat those or some portion of them and for those who don’t want it, or whose parents don’t enforce them eating it – that’s ok, because at least they have the choice. If the cost of this is an issue, then my suggestion to a lot of places is you can keep the soft drink and/or scoop of ice-cream you include with a kids meal and give my kids something nutritious on their plate instead.

Venues that are somewhat exempt from my rant are those that have a salad and veg bar, however it must be a well maintained salad and veg bar, I could start another rant here but I will leave that for another day!

Some venues do a great job with their kids menus. Riverside Restaurant in the InterContinental Adelaide have a very well thought-out menu that not only has a number of healthy options, but the meals are full of colour and flavour and very appealing to children and their parents.
The Olive Branch Café in Balhannah are fantastic at making little meals to suit any dietary requirement and there are places like the Appleseed Café in Strathalbyn that have a lovely little tasting plate for kids which has nice healthy food that is age appropriate and appealing to young kids. So I am not talking of every restaurant and café when I say kids menus need to be looked at, but on a whole I am more frustrated with a kids menu than I am really pleased by it. It shouldn’t feel like a luxury to find a restaurant or café that does kids food really well.

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